Arduino has made quite a name for itself over the past several years, with its single-board microcontrollers making their way into a wide variety of DIY electronic devices. Given that many of those devices have been robots, the company has now taken the next logical step forward – it’s released its first-ever complete robot.

Appropriately named the Arduino Robot, the 7 x 4-inch (178 x 102-mm) circular wheeled device utilizes two stacked Arduino boards. The Control Board, which sits on top, reads the various onboard sensors and causes the robot to react as programmed. The Motor Board, on the bottom, controls the motors that drive the two wheels. Two unpowered ball casters located opposite the wheels keep the robot propped up.

Some of the standard sensors and actuators include a digital compass, infrared sensors, a color LCD screen, a speaker, floor sensors, activity display LEDs, and two potentiometers. Simple commands can be programmed in via a built-in control keypad, although the robot can also be linked to a computer via USB, plus it has an SD card slot. Power comes either from a USB connection (if the robot is left hard-wired to a computer), or four rechargeable NiMh AA batteries.

Much to the delight of tinkerers everywhere, all of the robot’s hardware and software is open-source and highly hackable.

The Arduino Robot should be available by the end of this month from various retailers or via the company website, for approximately US$265.

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